I'd prepared for the event by listening to the Seventh three or four times over the last couple of weeks. I first heard it live as performed by the Halle some twenty-five years ago and hadn't been terribly impressed then. But that was a case of thwarted expectations. Learning that it had two 'nocturnes' I assumed it was going to be ethereally swoony, and it wasn't because it isn't. But I remember thinking it would be well worth listening to it again (and again) just to get hold of what Mahler was up to. And since I've now made the effort (a little late, but never mind) I rather think I have managed to grasp the essence of what's going on here.
I reckon Mahler was very conscious of a sense of defeating expectations, and that each movement is an approach to a kind of convention of music that he then deconstructs. So there's lots of parody, but this blurs into genuine expressions of feelings in ways that are destabilising, but fascinatingly so.
Anyway, whatever old Gustav was up to, the SSO did him proud. They really sparkled last night.